Bettors may have lamented the chalky major stakes results from coast to coast this weekend, but we were excited to see the stars continue to shine in their respective divisions. Belmont Park was the center of the action, with a double threat for the Breeders’ Cup emerging chief among them. Here is who made our latest Three Stars of the Week:
A month after punching his ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) with a victory in the Carter Handicap (G1), Vekoma returned with another strong effort to win Saturday’s Runhappy Met Mile (G1) to earn his place in the Breeders’ Cup Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile (G1). Adding to the respect he deserves for his latest score is the fact that he won this over a fast dirt course, while the Carter was in the slop. To return without any loss of effort after running such a monster effort proved that this horse is a serious threat, no matter which Breeders’ Cup race he ultimately enters.
2. Instilled Regard
Much like Vekoma, Instilled Regard has looked like a new animal after back-to-back victories at Belmont Park. The Chad Brown trainee followed last month’s Fort Marcy Stakes (G2) victory with a surging late move up the middle of the lane to win his first Grade 1 event in Saturday’s Manhattan Stakes. He is paying dividends on the tremendous promise that he showed earlier in his career on dirt and is now one of the top older male turf runners in North America.
After coming close in 7 starts against the top dirt males in the country, Tacitus finally found victory again with a dominating effort in Saturday’s Suburban Stakes (G2). The field was not the strongest in the race’s long history, but Tacitus put his tremendous class advantage on full display, outworking his rivals by almost 9 lengths. At this point, these 10-furlong dirt races might fit perfectly within his wheelhouse, but he still needs to prove that he can beat the division’s best while going a classic distance. He should get that opportunity when the circuit moves north to Saratoga.